Amazon.com Inc has complained to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) that its local partner Future Retail misled shareholders by incorrectly saying it was complying with its contractual obligations to the US e-commerce giant, a letter seen by news agency Reuters shows.
Amazon is locked in a bitter legal dispute with Future Group, which in August sold its retail assets to billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries for $3.4 billion. The deal, Amazon alleges, breaches 2019 agreements by Future.
The tussle has strained Amazon’s ties not just with Future Retail – one of India’s top retailers – but also with Mr Ambani, Asia’s richest man, and his Reliance group, which is fast expanding its e-commerce business and threatening companies like Amazon.
Amazon last Sunday won an injunction to halt Future’s deal with Reliance Industries from a Singapore arbitrator both sides had agreed to use in case of disputes. The Indian retailer then said in a news release it had complied with all agreements and “cannot be held back” by the arbitration proceedings.
In the letter to the Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi on Wednesday, Amazon said Future’s news release and stock exchange disclosures violated Indian regulations, urging the regulator to investigate the matter and not approve the deal.
“Such a disclosure is against public interest, misleads public shareholders … as well as perpetuates a fraud for the benefit of the Biyanis alone,” Amazon’s letter said, referring to Future’s promoter family led by Kishore Biyani.
A spokesman for Future Group and the Biyani family declined to comment. A Future group source denied Amazon’s allegations, saying there was no question of any fraud or misleading the public or shareholders, without elaborating.
Amazon declined to comment on its letter, the contents of which have not previously been reported. Reliance and Sebi did not respond to requests for comment.